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Contemporary Diptychs and Triptychs on Display in the OAC Riffe Gallery

The Ohio Arts Council’s (OAC) Riffe Gallery recently opened its newest exhibition, Duo Trio: Contemporary Diptychs and Triptychs by 14 Ohio Artists. Duo Trio will be on display until April 13 and features a variety of two-dimensional and three-dimensional contemporary pieces made by artists from all areas of Ohio. Featured artists include Julie M. Abijanac, Terri Albanese, Erin Holscher Almazan, Kristen Cliffel, Stephanie Craig, Thomas Frontini, Karla Hackenmiller, Greg Martin, Deborah Pinter, Agnes Ray, Jennifer Rosengarten, Emily Sullivan Smith, Art Werger, and Melissa Vogley Woods. 

For those unfamiliar with the terms, “diptych” refers to an art piece containing a series of two, and a “triptych” contains a series of three. This can be literal, in the sense that the work has two or three separate pieces of art or one piece containing a subject matter of two or three objects/themes. An example of the former would be Julie Abijanac’s Pestilence – Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3, 2017. This piece features three busts covered in faux pearls, symbolizing Abijanac’s stages of developing and overcoming cancer. This piece may be considered a triptych because it contains three separate yet connected artworks.

On the other hand, a diptych or triptych can be more abstract in concept. An example of this in Duo Trio would be Kristen Cliffel’s Enough, 2017. This piece features a hand-etched polycarbonate that writes the word “Enough” in large, cursive letters. In and of itself, this piece is not a diptych, but when on display with the proper lighting, this translucent sculpture creates a shadow that is even bolder than the sculpture itself. The projection of the word “enough” on the gallery wall shows delicate floral detailing inside bold, dark-edged letters, giving the viewer a second reminder that they are enough. 

Even more abstract is Melissa Vogley Woods’ Positions of Advantage, 2019. Her piece features three scagliola sculptures enclosed in two mural arches with two sculptures under one arch and one sculpture under the other. The two arches in and of themselves can be seen as a diptych, the two sculptures under one arch can be seen as a diptych, or the three scagliola sculptures together could be perceived as a triptych. Because art is fluid and can be interpreted variably by different people, these diptychs and triptychs can be perceived uniquely as well.

If interested in seeing these diptychs and triptychs in person, guests can visit the exhibition Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., Thursday from 10 a.m. – 8 p.m., and Saturday from 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. The gallery is closed Sundays and all state holidays. Artist Julie Abijanac will be conducting a paper quilling workshop on Feb. 27 from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Artists Deborah Pinter, Kristen Cliffel, and Art Werger will be leading artist talks on March 22, March 27, and April 3, respectively. Writers Paula Lambert and Nancy Kangas will lead a creative writing workshop on March 28 from 5:30 – 8 p.m. Events at the gallery are always free.

The Ohio Arts Council’s Riffe Gallery showcases the work of Ohio's artists and the collections of the state's museums and galleries. The Riffe Gallery is located in the Vern Riffe Center for Government and the Arts, across from the Statehouse on High Street in Downtown Columbus. Like the Riffe Gallery on Facebook and follow us on Instagram and Twitter.

The Ohio Arts Council is a state agency that funds and supports quality arts experiences to strengthen Ohio communities culturally, educationally, and economically. Connect with the OAC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, or visit our website at


Article by Alexa Demyan, 2018-19 OAC Riffe Gallery Marketing and Exhibitions Fellow
Featured photo: Julie M. Abijanac, Pestilence: Stage 1, Stage 2, Stage 3, 2017

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